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This website captures details of passengers and crew of the City of Adelaide and provides background and contexts of their lives - whether they were refugees from a European war; victims of the closing of the Cornish copper mines; hopeful migrants wanting to build new lives in a young country.
If you register and log in to your account, you will be able to add and edit articles too. By registering you can create a User-page and Talk-page - like Wikipedia. That can help you to contact other researchers interested in the same families and people. Being a wiki format, it is possible to collaborate with others to create a network of articles about your family and any stories that you find interesting. Please help to build the picture of the life and times of the City of Adelaide.

Featured article

Joseph Towan Nancarrow (b1855) and daughters

In the 1860s, the decline of mining in Cornwall left many miners unemployed. Many Cornishmen migrated to Moonta in South Australia where the newly-opened copper mines were booming and work was plentiful. Amongst these were 17 years old Joseph Towan Nancarrow his parents, six siblings, aunty and two young cousins, who migrated to South Australia on the City of Adelaide in 1873. Once in South Australia, Joseph and his father and brothers resumed work as miners where they found reasonably continuous work at the Yelta Copper Mine.

In 1879, Joseph built his own house and married Elizabeth Nicholls. Joseph and Elizabeth had seven children between 1880 and 1892, losing one of them at a few weeks of age. On 3rd May 1894, 39 years old Elizabeth died at her home while giving birth to her eighth child, a daughter who survived only for another three weeks. The following year Joseph Towan, 39, a widower with six children, remarried a widow with five young children of her own - Mrs Esther Potter, 30. Joseph and Esther had five more children of their own, but three died before their first birthday, and only two sons lived to adulthood.

Joseph Towan Nancarrow was a typical Cornishman or "Cousin Jack", and spoke with the rich accent of one. He was short of stature, ginger haired, with the palest of pale blue eyes, and was very witty. For a trade he knew only mining, although in his later years when work was short, he did supplement his income for short periods as a fisherman, the other age-old tradition of the Cornish.

Did you know

  • ... that superior tonnage and a greater spread of canvas provided clipper ships with higher speed. In 1876, an Ocean Race from the English Channel to Australia saw the City of Adelaide keep apace with a much larger clipper - the Bundaleer. They kept in sight of each other for almost the entire voyage.
  • ... that during the 1873 voyage of the City of Adelaide to London, the ship drifted so far to the South due to lack of winds that the Captain decided to go the other way around the world ... and the delay meant that heavily pregnant Annie Wilcox gave birth to George Seaborne in Cabin No.2 on 30th January, 1873, just off the Scilly Isles.
  • ... Edward Wright was a stowaway on the 1869 voyage to South Australia, and was entered in the crew list as a deckhand the day after the clipper left Plymouth. (You can help us if you can identify Edward; who he was, and where he went.)

Featured picture

Griffith George Todd, b1852
Among the first class (saloon) passengers who disembarked from the City of Adelaide at Port Adelaide in October 1867 was 15 years old Griffith George Todd. Having lost both parents by the age of 9, he had completed his education with relatives in London, and was now coming out to join his uncle’s family in South Australia.

Photo: State Library of South Australia

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